Jul 202017
 

Cooking with kids always seems like such a great idea – until you actually do it. If you can see past the messes and inefficiency, however, you will be rewarded with a sweet experience that neither of you will ever forget! Cooking together builds confidence, teaches life skills, and encourages healthy eating habits. In addition, it can bring some of your most treasured bonding moments – that is, if you can manage to relax and enjoy yourself instead of worrying about the state of your kitchen. Here are my top tips for enjoying cooking with kids. Share yours in the comments!

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun

If You Invite Them to Help, Make Sure Your Mean It

If you are going to cook with your child, make sure you are really in the mood for it. If you are already feeling anxious or irritable to begin with, take a rain check and do it another time. Cooking with kids requires all of your patience and attention, so don’t start off at a deficit.

Organize Your Space

Before beginning, make sure their work space is clear, accessible, and safe. You don’t want to have them get started only to notice that the kitchen knives are within reach of your toddler or that there isn’t really enough room for them to roll out their dough. Take a few extra minutes to clear off the counter space and bring all of the ingredients into easy reach, so you aren’t leaving a small child unattended while you go to pull items out of the pantry.

Know What You’re Doing

If it is a new or less familiar recipe, be sure to read it over carefully ahead of time. Remember that once you begin you will be distracted by your kids.

Safety First

Make sure that anything dangerous is out of reach before you even begin and keep a sharp eye on what your child is doing. They seem to have a knack for discovering dangers you never would have dreamed of! Remember that you will be distracted, so as you cook, triple check that turn off the burners and put away equipment.

Allow Extra Time – But Know Your Limits

Be sure to allow plenty of extra time, not just because you’ll be cleaning up spills or teaching them how to crack eggs. Children are also much more process oriented than adults, so they will likely enjoy stirring together the ingredients or cutting out the shapes longer than is strictly necessary. Bite your tongue and let it go on for as long as you can, because often this is the part they most enjoy. Mine tend to linger at the mixing stage then lose interest and wander out of the kitchen. But do know your limits. If you feel your frustration building, gently move them along after a reasonable period.

And reliably, your child will have a messy diaper or need to go potty at a key point in the recipe, so try to make dishes that can sit on the counter while you take necessary breaks!

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | Alldonemonkey.com

Embrace the Mess

Cooking with kids is messy and slow – and fun!  But you have to accept the first two in order to really enjoy the latter.

I never realized how uptight I was about messes until I had kids.  Now I really try to relax and enjoy the moment.  After all, there is often little you can do to contain the mess! Your child, covered in flour from head to foot, is bound to take off for the living room, bouncing off all the furniture, just as you have your hands full with hot cookie sheets from the oven and can’t possibly chase him down. Or he will decide to “help” you crack the eggs on the counter when you have your back turned for just a second. No matter what, there will be a mess to clean up, so you might as well make it worth it!

Set Your Priorities And Lower Your Expectations Accordingly

If you expect to bake perfect dishes in no time flat with little mess, than you have no business bringing your child into the action.  You will only become frustrated with your little one, who has very different ideas about what is going to happen.

But if you have asked your child to join you, it is probably because you want to have a special, fun experience with him, rather than a perfect product.  Just keep reminding yourself of this, when you start to switch back into a default mode of “I must get these in the oven right now!” and “Don’t pull apart the cookies!  They were so pretty!”

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | Alldonemonkey.com

Try to Work with “Child Efficiency” Rather Than “Adult Efficiency”

If you are working alone, you will probably complete the steps a certain way in order to be efficient, but that may not be the most efficient way to do things when you have a little helper.  For example, when making cookies, normally I would roll out all the dough, then cut out all the shapes, then move them all to the cookie sheet.  When I did that with my toddler helping me, however, dough disappeared into his sweet little mouth before I could cut out all the shapes, and what shapes I could do were often broken or “transformed” into something entirely different by the time I could put them onto the cookie sheet.

So instead, I rolled out a bit of dough, cut a few stars, and moved those to the cookie sheet before rolling out a bit more dough.  Much more “child efficient.”

A Final Note

Some cookies will burn.  Some cakes will be lumpy.  And key ingredients will probably be forgotten.  But chances are everyone will love it anyway, especially if they know your little one helped!

And just remember: When you are cooking with kids, you always have a great excuse if your dishes don’t turn out perfectly!

Marigold Bakes a Cake

A really fun book you and your child will both enjoy is Marigold Bakes a Cake. Poor Marigold is a perfectionist, especially when it comes to baking. That is why he does it alone – until the birds show up. First one, then more fly into his kitchen and mess up the perfect cake he is baking, until Marigold finally loses his temper. After Marigold calms down a bit, he leaves to go on a walk and regain his composure. Meanwhile, the birds decide they will fix the situation by making Marigold the perfect cake he had dreamed of – except they end up making even more of a mess! Yet Marigold recognizes their love of cooking (and affection for him) and decides to teach them how to cook.

For me, this book is about learning to live with imperfection in our cooking and in ourselves. Marigold tries to be patient but fails, yet he realizes he needs to take a break to calm down. And the birds never do learn how to cook, but they have so much fun the reader can’t help but be swept up in their enthusiasm. Marigold Bakes a Cake is a fun way to remind kids (and parents!) to enjoy the process rather than getting caught up in having perfect results.

Jun 272017
 
 June 27, 2017  activities, family Comments Off on Favorite Family Games and Activities

I always looked forward to family game night as a kid. It was a break our everyday interactions, where we were often caught up in chores and homework. Instead, we could really all sit down and play together. Family games are a fun screen-free way to spend time together on rainy afternoons or to unwind after a busy day. Here are some of our favorite family games and activities, especially for those with young children.

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some of the products below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Favorite Family Games & Activities | Alldonemonkey.com

Fun Family Activities

Charades

One of the things I love about charades is that you can do it anywhere, with no preparation, so it is great for those times when you find yourself in need of an activity to entertain the kids for a while. It can also be adapted for different ages, so that even very young children can play. I would often use this as a reward at the end of our Spanish lesson as a way to practice vocabulary!

Storytelling

In this activity, someone starts a story then the next person continues it, and so on until the last person brings it to an end. You could have a ball or other object that you pass as you take turns telling the story, or each storyteller chooses the next person to continue the story. You can also have the person act it out as they tell their part of the story!

Drawing Together

I’m not sure I ever would have thought about doing a collective drawing except that my son (now 4) got us started on this several years ago. Both of my boys now love to draw with us, often with rather elaborate stories that they invent as we go. They prefer doing battles (where you each pick sides and “battle” each other in the drawing), but it can also be a great way to create inventions, design houses, and tell stories together.

You can also pick a coloring book to work in together. I love the gorgeous A Touch of Asia Coloring Book: Serenely Elegant Designs from the East from Tuttle Publishing. It is an adult coloring book, so I often enjoy working in it by myself, but I’ve also found that it can be fun to do with my kids. At an age when they are usually focused on cartoons and action figures, they are still naturally drawn to beauty, a quality that is often not nurtured in boys especially. But mine love helping me with “my” coloring book and filling in some of the simpler designs, while I save the more intricate ones for solo work.

Build Together

Creating together is also high on our list of family activities, and what kid doesn’t love paper airplanes? Making paper airplanes is a classic skill that is often passed down from parent to child, so why not up your game with these fantastic looking, high-performance versions that are actually easy to make? Talk about being a hero for your kids!

Favorite Family Games and Activities | Alldonemonkey.com

The High-Performance Paper Airplanes Kit comes with pre-cut models that are easy to put together. The kit also comes with a Catapult Launcher. Need I say more?? And if origami is your thing, try Michael LaFosse’s Origami Airplanes. It includes a DVD and instructions for 28 origami paper airplane projects. (Note: does not include the origami paper). The planes are so realistic looking and really do fly well! I also love having the DVD tutorials to follow.

Favorite Family Games and Activities | Alldonemonkey.com

But my personal favorite is the Flying Dragons Paper Airplane Kit. They are just so cool looking! There are 12 original designs, like the Flame Dragon and the Flying Shark, plus 48 folding sheets, an instruction book, and YouTube tutorials.

We also love building sets like this Plants vs. Zombies Wild West Skirmish Set from K’nex. A must-have if you have a Plants vs. Zombies fan in your house! The characters actually look just like the ones in the game. And best of all, once you’ve had the fun of building it together, you still have unlimited play time left with the assembled scene. Really great for doing pretend play together!

Favorite Family Games

One of my favorite childhood memories was getting together with my cousins during the holidays. I vividly remember all of us kids in the back room of my grandparents’ house, playing favorite family games like Deluxe Pit together and laughing our heads off. Pit is a fun, loud, rowdy game that everyone will enjoy. It is something like Go Fish, in that you have to try to get all the cards of one kind, but everyone is yelling and trading cards at the same time in the race to be the first to make a set. My kids love ringing the bell when they finish!

Guillotine is the game that my 7 year old always shows people when they visit us. Believe it or not, it is a game all about the French Revolution and – yes – people getting their heads chopped off. Sound macabre? Perhaps a little, but it’s so silly and fun (and sneakily educational) that you will soon forget! The premise is that you are a bunch of guillotine operators competing with each other to see who can execute the most valuable nobles. Each noble card is ranked by point value, with, for example, the King being 5 points and a minor functionary being worth only 1. Just don’t accidentally execute a hero of the people, worth -1 point!

I love cooperative games like those from Peaceable Kingdom. If your kids are anything like mine, most games can bring out a competitive streak that can sometimes lead to arguments and hurt feelings. Cooperative games like Feed the Woozle are not only fun, they also encourage teamwork and skill building. In Feed the Woozle, for example, players take turns trying to carry food tokens across the room on a spoon – but they might have to spin or march or bunny hop while doing it!

Favorite Family Games and Activities | Alldonemonkey.com

Everyone works as a team to take 12 tokens to the Woozle before they run out. It is great for both fine motor and gross motor skills, as well as counting. Even my toddler likes to get in on the fun!

Favorite Family Games and Activities | Alldonemonkey.com

Stack Up! is another great team-building game from Peaceable Kingdom, in which players try to stack blocks as high as they can, while doing challenges like matching colors or singing songs as they stack. Hoot Owl Hoot is a simple strategy game that even young children can play, as players work together to help the owls reach the nest before the sun comes up.

Of course, you can’t forget the classics! Hasbro Connect 4 Game is another one of the family games that I grew up on, so it’s especially fun to play it now with my kids! And if there is a younger sibling that doesn’t quite get the game yet, it is also just a fun board to use to make designs and patterns. We even used it to make our own coding game.

This is one that my 4 year old adores, and now you can get the Candy Land 65th Anniversary Game. It is designed for pre-readers and doesn’t require any strategy, so it’s a great first game for children to play.

What are your favorite family games and activities?

May 162017
 
 May 16, 2017  activities, Summer Comments Off on Swimming with Kids: What to Pack

This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

As the weather gets warm, we always start to think of swimming! I must admit, though, packing up all the essentials for family swim time at the pool or the lake can be a daunting task, especially with young children. Here are my tips for you really need to pack next time you go swimming with kids.

Swimming with Kids: What to Pack | Alldonemonkey.com

Swimming with Kids: What to Pack

Do you love swimming with your kids but dread having to pack up all that gear? Or, on the flip side, have you ever gotten to the pool just to realize you forgot something essential, like sunscreen? Here are our top tips for what you really need to have in your bag next time you go swimming with kids:

Sunscreen and sun hats: So important to protect your little ones from the sun! For very young children and babies, go one step further and keep them covered up and in the shade as much as possible. (See below for a great way to keep babies protected).

Water: Make sure to keep everyone hydrated, especially as children may be less aware of how thirsty they are getting when splashing around in the water.

Snacks: All that playing around will get them hungry, so be sure to pack some power snacks, especially if you think your child may fall asleep in the car on the drive home. Fruits like watermelon are a great choice because they can help them keep up their fluid intake and are so refreshing!

Towels: One for everyone, and usually one extra, because one towel always gets spilled on or stepped on, and then someone is left shivering!

Swim Diapers: These are incredibly convenient, plus they are required at most pools. Just make sure you have regular diapers to change your child into later, as swim diapers really don’t hold things in well outside the water.

Change of Clothes: If your child is potty trained, don’t forget to pack a pair of underwear along with their dry clothes!

Anti-bacterial gel: If you’ve ever used the bathroom at a public pool, you will appreciate how levels of hygiene (and hand soap) can vary, so better to be prepared and have some anti-bacterial gel in your bag when you go swimming with kids!

Floats: Older children can use arm floaties for a little extra support, and plus there is an incredible float just for babies! I love the SwimWays Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy, which is designed for very young children (9 to 24 months), who are just getting used to the water. As Step 1 of 3 Swim Training stages, this adorable float is a safe, fun way for little ones to get comfortable in the water so they can eventually learn to swim.

Swimming with Kids: What to Pack | Alldonemonkey.com

I remember when we first put my oldest in the pool – he was terrified! That’s why I’m so glad that today we have the SwimWays Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy for my one year old daughter. It is durable and very stable in the water, with a patented inner spring around the outer edge for extra security. Plus it has a wonderful shade that you can adjust in two different positions or remove altogether with easy snaps. The shade also has UPF 50+ so I know she will be well protected from the sun.

I love how soft the mesh seat is and that there is a mesh play area so she can play and splash around. The SwimWays Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy is the perfect combination of comfort and security. I can relax knowing that she is safe and supported, and she feels great and can have a blast!

Swimming with Kids: What to Pack | Alldonemonkey.com

And despite the fact that it is so wide when it is open (part of why it is so stable and balanced), the SwimWays Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy actually folds up easily into three flat, compact circles that fit into an included bag for easy carrying and packing. So important when you are carrying around other gear as well!

Don’t miss out on this great float for babies, available at Target (in-store and online)!

National Learn to Swim Day

Did you know that May 20th, 2017 is National Learn to Swim Day? SwimWays is a leader in promoting water safety and helping children learn to swim. That’s why they started National Learn to Swim Day in 2012. It is always the 3rd Saturday in May, so that as pools open across the US parents are aware of the importance of swim safety and teaching children how to swim. Learn more on the Teach Me to Swim website!

May 042017
 

This content has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

It’s that time of year! The weather is finally warming up, and there are more and more beautiful days to get outside and enjoy with our kids. We love going to the playground, but I also love to take the kids hiking, where they can breathe in the fresh air and really reconnect with the natural world. Even if your children are very young, you don’t have to miss out on this fun activity, as many parks and recreational areas have paths that are easy for strollers and little legs. Here are our favorite kid-friendly hikes in Northern California.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Before You Go

Have a plan. Exploring can be so much fun, especially in the great outdoors, but if you have little ones in tow, don’t waste all their energy wandering around looking for the trailhead. Most parks have detailed information and maps of kid-friendly hikes available on their websites, or you can talk to a ranger once you arrive.

Use good shoes. Bring home good memories, not sore feet! Make sure everyone has well-fitting, supportive shoes to wear. Remember that ordinary sneakers often don’t have good grip for outdoor trails, so use hiking shoes when possible.

Wear layers. The weather may be cool when you start, but you will quickly warm up as you walk, so be prepared by dressing in layers. This will also help if you are going to be hiking on a densely forested trail, where it may be significantly cooler than in sunnier areas.

Pack high-energy snacks. Nuts or trail mix are great snacks to keep you and your kiddos going on kid-friendly hikes.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially when you are active outdoors! My relatives are always surprised at how much my kids love to drink water, but it’s a habit that we have instilled in them from a very young age. My boys love to run and play, so it’s important to make sure they stay hydrated. And now it’s even easier, with the new 35 pack of Nestlé® Pure Life® water now available at Walmart. It’s such a great value, because it’s the same price as the old 32 pack – that’s 3 extra bottles for free! Find out more about this great offer at the end of this post.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California

Muir Woods National MonumentMuir Woods is simply a classic spot to visit in Northern California, a lush forest of old growth redwood trees that has been federally protected for more than a century. It also boosts easy trail loops that are accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. There are also moderate to strenuous hikes if your children are older, but even if you stay on the easy trails, don’t worry that you are missing out – the views are still spectacular! Be aware that it is usually quite chilly inside the forest, even on warm days, so bring layers.

Lassen Volcanic National Park: Lassen is another area that has been protected for more than 100 years and today is enjoyed by nearly half a million visitors a year. And frankly it is one of the most unusual spots we have visited in California: an active volcano, a gigantic steam vent, a cold boiling lake, and bubbling mud that smells like rotten eggs – it’s a kid’s dream! The most accessible site is the Sulphur Works, and the Devastated Area (its actual name!) has a half-mile hard surface trail with wonderful views. Please be extra cautious not to let your children wander off the trails, especially in the hydrothermal areas, as it could be dangerous.

Mount Shasta areaMount Shasta is the second highest peak in the Cascade Range (which also include Lassen, see above). The mountain itself is awe-inspiring, and while most of its trails are more rugged, its Panther Meadows trail is relatively short and easy (approx 1 mile). But don’t neglect area at the base of the mountain, which has many beautiful areas for families to enjoy nature. The walk to Hedge Creek Falls in Dunsmuir, for example, is just over half a mile from the picnic area, and is accessible even during the winter, when many trails on the mountain are closed. McCloud River and Falls also has kid-friendly hikes, and you can enjoy a walk around Siskiyou Lake using the new Wagon Trail.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Point Reyes National SeashoreOften when we think of Point Reyes we think of the beaches – picnicking or flying kites among the dunes, or climbing the steep steps to the lighthouse – yet the park is actually much more extensive than just the coastline. There are plenty of paved or well-packed dirt trails that are relatively flat and easy for little legs. Earthquake Trail in particular is paved and just over half a mile. And if the beach is what you are looking for, North and South Beach also have short paved paths in the dunes that offer beautiful views of the ocean.

Lake TahoeThe famously clear waters of Lake Tahoe – the second deepest lake in the United States – and the rugged Sierra Mountains that surround it attract visitors from all over the world. It is actually a cluster of state parks and recreational areas, such as Emerald Bay State Park. Some of the trails around Lake Tahoe are quite strenuous, but it is easy to find ones to match your family’s abilities. For example, the Rubicon Trail is a flat, easy trail that goes right along the shoreline. Don’t miss the historic Vikingsholm Mansion!

Russian RiverThe Russian River is one of those areas in Northern California that I feel are underappreciated. It is a gorgeous area with beaches and wilderness areas for families to explore and has miles of trails for a range of abilities. The best known area for kid-friendly hikes is Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. Just north of Santa Rosa, this is an old-growth redwood forest with an easy self-guided trail through the grove.

Effie Yeaw Nature CenterThis beautiful area near Sacramento encompasses 100 acres of woodland to explore along the American River. All of the nature trails are easy and include interpretive signs. You are sure to see wildlife during your walk, and there is always something to explore at the Nature Center. I love the natural playground and butterfly garden!

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Related Post: 18 Most Picturesque Places for Families to Visit in Northern California

Cosumnes River PreserveThis preserve – more than 50,000 acres – is a wonderful place in the Sacramento area to explore nature with your kids. There are two easy trails to choose from, one dirt and one paved. It is a quiet, pristine area, great for spotting wildlife along the trail. Even the shorter, paved trail offers close up views of marshes and wetland plants.

American River ParkwayThis 23 mile parkway is accessible at various points along Highway 50. There are a number of parks inside the parkway, including Effie Yeaw (see above). The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail is popular with bicyclists and pedestrians alike. It is paved and can be accessed from most of the parks within the American River Parkway.

UC Davis ArboretumI am quite partial to the UC Davis Arboretum, as I used to study there when I was a grad student, and my husband and I would go for walks along its trails when we were newly married (eons ago!). Located on the campus of UC Davis, the Arboretum is open to the public 24 hours a day, with no fee for admission. The main path is a 3.5 mile paved loop. There are also plenty of open areas along the way where you can relax with a picnic or play catch. As you walk, you can enjoy plants from around the world, such as the Australia Collection or the East Asia Collection.

A New Reason to Enjoy Great-Tasting Water

As with any type of outdoor activity, it is essential to keep you and your little ones well hydrated when you are headed out on kid-friendly hikes. That is why I was excited to find out that Nestle Pure Life is now available in a 35 pack at Walmart – at the same price as the old 32 pack! The packaging for Pure Life is also new, so look for it in the water aisle or in a special display.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

I want only the best for my kids, which is why I choose Nestle Pure Life, since it is filtered through a 12 step quality process and enhanced with a unique blend of minerals. You can tell the difference because of its great taste!

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

I keep a pack in the trunk of my car so we are ready any time we want to go for a hike or just head to the playground! Even just running errands on a warm day can make you dehydrated, so I make sure that the kids and I drink plenty of water. This new 35 pack makes it even easier to keep everyone healthy on those special days and everyday!

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

Please note: Only the 24 pack is available online, so if the 35 pack of Nestle Pure Life is not available in your local Walmart, please ask a store manager about getting the product in your area.

And don’t forget to visit nestlepurelife.com to sign up for promotions, offers and more.

10 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California | Alldonemonkey.com #shop #PureLife35pk #CollectiveBias

What are your favorite kid-friendly hikes?

Apr 132017
 
 April 13, 2017  activities, crafts, Ridvan, STEM 2 Responses »

The Festival of Ridván begins next week, and because it commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s stay in a garden full of roses, I love to do rose crafts and activities with my children to celebrate (like make these rose cookies). Inspired by the roses that were piled in Bahá’u’lláh’s tent each day (so many that His guests could not see each other over them!) I have gathered together a huge list of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes for you. Enjoy!

A huge collection of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes

Rose Crafts

From Living Ideas: DIY Rose Egg Craft

From Crafts by Amanda: Realistic Duct Tape Roses & Cardboard Tube Bouquet of Felt Roses

From Red Ted Art: Paper Towel Roses & Duct Tape Rose Pens

From Messy Little Monster: Celery Roses

From No Biggie: Pipe Cleaner Rose Rings

From Mum in the Madhouse: Simple Paper Roses

From Bellissima Kids: Paper Roses Bouquet

From FabDIY: Coffee Filter Rose

From Self-Reliant Living: Egg Carton Roses

From Mom on Time Out: Hershey’s Kisses Roses

From Kids Activities Blog: Paper Plate Roses

Rose Play & Learning Activities

From Teach Beside Me: LED Roses

From Schooling a Monkey: 3D Rose Model – Biology for Kids

From Mother Natured: Rose Study

From Homegrown Friends: Color Changing Rose Experiment

From Kitchen Counter Chronicle: Make a Book – The Giving Roses

From Nurture Store: Rose Petal Sensory Play Tub

From Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Rose Petal Water Play

From Childhood 101: Rose Playdough

From Crafts on Sea: Rose Scented Playdough

Rose Recipes

From All Done Monkey: Rose Cookies

From Martha Stewart: Ring Around the Rose Petal Fools

From The European Mama: Rose Petal Jam

From Gimme Some Oven: Rose Cake

From Life of a Lost Muse: Rose Apple Pie

From Heather Christo: White Peach and Rose Sorbet

From The Pretty Blog: Homemade Rosewater Marshmallows

From Global Table Adventure: Rosewater Lemonade, Rosewater Tea, Sweet Semolina Cake with Rosewater and Lemon, & Sweet Saffron Custard with Rosewater

From Posh Little Designs: DIY Raspberry Rose Ice Cubes

From A Pumpkin & A Princess: Rose Petal Bath Soak

From Lulus: Coconut Rose Body Scrub

Mar 212017
 
 March 21, 2017  activities, History 3 Responses »

I have always loved history, but I’ve learned that not everyone does! For many, history is simply a collection of boring facts that they have to memorize in order to pass a test. I’m determined that my children not have this negative experience, so I try to make history fun by doing hands on activities with them. For example, when studying early US history, you could throw a Dolley Madison party! These fun activities are a great way to bring history to life and to teach children about one of our most colorful first ladies.

Throw a Dolley Madison Party! | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies?; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Don’t miss a giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party

Dolley Madison was the wife of James Madison, our 4th US president, who was in office from 1809 to 1817. Her parties were legendary, so why not throw your own party to learn more about her? Learn more about her with these fun activities.

Dress Up

Dolley Madison was known for her extravagant fashions, like silk turbans with ostrich feathers coming out of them. So be sure to put on your best “fancy” clothes for your party!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Learning about Culture Through Play

Be a Gracious Host

Dolley Madison was incredibly personable and made everyone she met feel like a close friend. No wonder her parties were so popular! In fact, they were known as “crushes” because so many people tried to squeeze inside the White House to attend!

Eat Ice Cream!

Did you know that we have Dolley Madison to thank for making ice cream such a popular dessert here? She even served the tasty treat in fancy pastry shells – maybe an old-fashioned version of our ice cream cones?? Savory flavors were also popular back then, so if you are really brave you could try Dolley Madison’s favorite: oyster ice cream!

Related Post: 10 History Games

Paint a Portrait

It wasn’t all fancy dresses and parties for Dolley Madison! We can also thank her for saving important government papers and a beloved portrait of George Washington during the War of 1812. Dolley stayed at the White House even when most government workers and local residents fled. She made sure that treasures of the young nation were safe from the approaching British then fled to safety herself. Celebrate by drawing your own portrait of George Washington!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party | Alldonemonkey.com

Read More

Learn more about this brave and kind first lady with these great books!

A wonderful new book of facts and trivia for kids is What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies. It is an engaging and fun book about the women who have made the White House into what it is today. It is fun to see how the role of the first lady has evolved over the years, as well as how these remarkable women have influenced the nation and the world. Some facts are funny (Carrie Harrison was afraid she’d get zapped by the light switches when they first installed electricity at the White House!) while others are inspiring (Lou Hoover was the first woman to graduate from Stanford University with a geology degree and encouraged young girls to follow their dreams). My son has really loved looking through this book, and so have I!

Dolley Madison Saves George Washington is a great book to learn more about Dolley Madison. It tells about her humble beginnings and rise to become the toast of Washington, DC. Readers also learn in detail about her bravery during the War of 1812 and her role in saving treasures from the White House, including that famous portrait of George Washington. Recommended for elementary aged children.

How do you make history fun? Do you have a favorite first lady?

Enter for a chance to win a copy of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies!

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Feb 202017
 
 February 20, 2017  activities, Education, multiculturalism, Purim, raising world citizens Comments Off on Free Purim Printables

Purim is coming, and I have gathered together the best FREE Purim printables out there! They are guaranteed fun for you and your kids, as part of your celebrations of this fun holiday. From masks and puppets to coloring pages and activities, there is something for everyone!

Free Purim Printables | Alldonemonkey.com

Free Purim Printables

From Moms & Crafters: Free Printable Labels

From Moms & Crafters: Color-In Masks for Grownups and Kids

From Alpha Mom: Printable Masks

From Chai & Home: Paper Crown

From Ann D. Koffsky: Puppets to Color

From Tori Avey: Finger Puppets

From Kosher on a Budget: 10 Free Coloring Pages

From Dena Ackerman: Purim Coloring Pages

From To the Moon & Back: E Is for Esther Templates and Activities

From Our Jewish Homeschool Blog: Activity Pack

How are you celebrating this year?

 

Purim for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of our annual Purim for Kids blog hop. Visit the posts below for great ideas about sharing this holiday with the kids in your life! Don’t miss our blog hop from last year, and you can find even more ideas on our Purim board on Pinterest:


Participating Blogs

ZinnHouse.com on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Interfaith Purim Plus: A Wide Approach to Spring Holidays
Moms & Crafters: Free Color-in Purim Puppets
Kelly’s Classroom: Better-than-Best Purim
Melibelle in Tokyo: From Shushan with Love
All Done Monkey: Free Purim Printables

Jan 232017
 
 January 23, 2017  activities, crafts, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Organize a Multicultural Kids Event in Five Easy Steps

Thank you to Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes for this post on how to organize a multicultural kids event in 5 easy steps!

Living in large cities provides ample opportunities to attend a variety of multicultural events. However, living in small towns, not so much. Which in turn has motivated me many times to organize a multicultural kids event at our local library or in our home.

My motto is when you lack opportunities you create them, and that’s exactly what I did!

To clarify, I started doing my events at home with my son’s friends, and then I moved on to facilitating events at our local library.

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Now, let’s get started!

Organize a Multicultural Kids Event in Five Easy Steps

  1. Determine your budget. If your event is being sponsored (see #4), you don’t have to incur any expenses.
  2. Determine what type of event you will be hosting. Here are some examples that I have done:
  3. Set the time and date.
  4. Decide where you want the event to be held:
    • Recreational center (there is usually a fee for this)
    • Your home (no fee)
      • You will have to consider available space in your home, and  how many kids you’ll be inviting.
    • Library rooms.  You can book a library conference room for free.
      • Contact the library and pitch them your idea.  I met with the director and event coordinator with my event proposal.  They accepted and sponsored my activity.
  5. Determine what type of activities you will have:
    • Story time with a book that goes with the event’s theme.
    • A facilitator.
    • Music
    • Crafts
    • Games Around the World
      • Determine what type of games you’ll be playing.
    • Food
      • Will you be serving food? Some places like the library don’t allow you to bring food or drinks.  However, if they sponsoring, they will probably allow it.  Be sure to ask, since this depends on the library.
If all of this is still a bit too much for you just organize a multicultural kids event at your child’s school! Talk to your child’s teacher and just to do it for the classroom.
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Organizing a multicultural kids event may seem like a daunting task, but once you get it rolling you’ll be so glad you did.

Last but not least, have fun, and enjoy your event!  If I can do it so can you.

Hispanic Heritage Month Community Event at our local library. Little one is always my helper.  He gets up there and participates by reading and helping me.

For more ideas on raising a global citizen take a look at Multicultural Kid Blogs Pinterest page.

About the Author

francesFrances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia.  Shortly before her child turned 4 yrs. old she started blogging about discovering the world through her son’s eyes, hence the name of her blog. She love doing things with her son, and became passionate about teaching him to be bilingual, and to identify with his multicultural identity. She writes about heritage, bilingualism, multicultural children’s book and global culture education with lots of hands-on activities and language learning ideas for kids.

She can be found musing at her blog Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes or on Instagram her new fave social media platform.   You can also follow her on TwitterFacebook  and Google+.

Dec 142016
 

If you are like me, a gift for your child is not only fun, it’s also an opportunity to teach them something. Fun toys that teach coding! Great gifts for book lovers! And so of course I have some great recommendations for you of multicultural gifts that your kids will love and that will also teach them about the world and encourage them to explore it even more. Enjoy!

Multicultural Gifts for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of many of the items below; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Multicultural Gifts for Kids

Spanish Alphabet Print : Multicultural Gifts for Kids

I absolutely adore the alphabet posters from Gus on the Go! We have one in Spanish and one in French hanging in our baby’s room, and she loves pointing at all the adorable pictures! I love that she is learning the Spanish alphabet (and French!) in an organic way, with pictures that correspond to the correct Spanish letters – and it includes the “ch” and the “ll”! And did I mention how adorable the pictures are?? Also available in Hebrew, Greek, and Italian, and you don’t want to miss their fun language learning apps, like Gus on the Go: Spanish for Kids.

What young child wouldn’t want to play with this inviting Plush Basket of Babies from Creative Minds? These soft, 10″ dolls are huggable and fun multicultural gifts for all ages, from very young children in search of a snuggly toy to older kids who love pretend play.

Karen Katz’s books are real favorites around our house. Her bright, colorful illustrations always include diverse characters, and her stories are told in simple language for the very young. I love that she takes her young readers seriously and talks to them about topics like world peace, as in the beautiful Can You Say Peace?. A lovely addition to the library of any little world citizen!

Multicultural Gifts for Kids - Culture Chest

I was so excited to find out about Culture Chest, a subscription service offering multicultural picture books for children ages 3-8. Packages typically include 1-2 paperback books plus an activity. Books are selected with care for cultural relevance and accuracy. I love that the boxes follow the celebration of the heritage months. For example, for November (Native American Heritage Month), our box included two wonderful books related to Native American heritage: Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales and the lovely Navajo legend How the Stars Fell into the Sky. This service makes a great gift to help children learn about other cultures and celebrate their own heritage.

If you want a fun STEM project for your child to work on, you can’t beat the next two multicultural gifts! Japanese Paper Toys Kit: Origami Paper Toys that Walk, Jump, Spin, Tumble and Amaze! is so fun and creative and work well for a range of ages. Each paper toys kit comes with materials and instructions to make 21 different toys – that really move! The projects are easy enough to finish quickly so that kids can start playing with them!

Another great STEM activity kit is the Origami Zoo Kit, which includes the book, 40 papers, 95 stickers, and a zoo map for pretend play with your creations. It is so fun! Perfect for your animal lovers, or any child that likes crafts! I love Tuttle’s origami kits for kids, because they are so colorful and engaging for kids, and parents will love how easy the projects are to put together. The papers already have the patterns on them, plus they come with stickers to decorate once you are finished. And kids will love playing with their animals at the “zoo” afterwards. Hours of fun!

Older children will love All About Thailand: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids. It is packed with all kinds of fun learning activities about Thailand, from stories and songs to recipes and games. Kids can practice speaking a few words of Thai, learn more about elephants, or make their own shadow puppets! This is one my son really enjoys reading, and that I steal from my kids’ room to read for myself! Would also be perfect for the classroom or a home school unit.

Atlas of Animal Adventures: A collection of nature’s most unmissable events, epic migrations and extraordinary behaviours is simply gorgeous. Young children will love the detailed illustrations, while older children will pore over the detailed maps and information about animals from around the world. This is one of those books kids will keep coming back to because there is always something new to discover!

I’ve reviewed this album previously, but it is one that we pull out every holiday season, because everyone in the family loves it. Celebrate The Season: Multicultural Songs For The Holidays By Daria is a beautifully done collection of traditional holiday music from around the world that will have everyone singing along. It is a nice mix of upbeat songs and more gentle tunes, with wonderful instrumentals and Daria’s warm, resonant vocals. Not to miss! These CDs make great multicultural gifts to stick in your loved ones’ stockings!

Dec 052016
 
 December 5, 2016  activities, Sacramento Comments Off on Family Bonding: 10 Parent-Child Date Night Ideas

What is a parent-child date night? Simply a way to do something special and reconnect with your child. Sometimes we get so busy with our day to day routines that we can forget that these are not the end themselves, only the means. It’s helpful to take a step back and spend some special time with our children. This is especially true when you have multiple kids! When there is a new baby, for example, older kids will really enjoy the extra attention.

Family Bonding" 10 Parent-Child Date Nights | Alldonemonkey.com

Here are some fun parent-child date night ideas, but keep in mind that the most important thing is spending special time with your child!

Disclosure: I received complimentary passes to VIP Night at Century Arden 14 & XD Theater; however, all opinions are my own.

Parent-Child Date Night Ideas

  1. Go to a live show, like monster trucks or Disney on Ice
  2. Have fun at bowling or a video arcade
  3. Take a cooking or computer class together – they will love seeing you learn something, too!
  4. From Kid World Citizen on Creative World of Varya: Super Noche!
  5. From Moms and Crafters: Playdates with Mom
  6. From Adventures in Mommydom: Mommy-Son Mini Golf Date Night
  7. From Adventures in Mommydom: Daddy Daughter Date: Scavenger Hunt
  8. From Gianna the Great: “When I take my granddaughter out for a ‘date night’ we go have coffee/hot chocolate and a bookstore.”
  9. From Bicultural Mama: “My daughter had been asking me for a ‘Girls Night Out’ so a couple weekends ago she and I went to dinner at the restaurant of her choice, then went holiday shopping at the mall for daddy, then went home to watch Zootopia on Netflix.”
  10. Go to the movies! The boys and I had a blast attending VIP Night at the grand re-opening of the Century Arden 14 and XD Theater here in Sacramento. It was fun to get a sneak peek at this totally refurbished theater, with 14 wall-to-wall screens and custom digital surround sound. But what we loved the most was the luxury loungers – no joke, each seat is an electric-powered recliner, complete with cup holders and footrests.

Family Bonding: 10 Parent-Child Date Night Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

I am nearly 6 feet tall, and often feel uncomfortable in theater seats, plus I am always self-conscious of blocking the view of people behind me. Not so here! I had plenty of room to stretch out and not worry about those behind me – or in front! Aren’t you tired of having to stand up or shrink in your seat to let someone else pass by? (Or okay, let’s admit it – aren’t you tired of being the family that arrives late and makes everyone else stand up or shrink in their seat so you and your wiggly kids can pass by?) I was amazed at how wide the aisles were – all of them, not just those in the middle of the theater. What luxury!

Family Bonding" 10 Parent-Child Date Nights | Alldonemonkey.com

And if you have picky kids in your family, you will also appreciate the self-serve concession stand, where you can get your order just how you want it. So next time you are headed to the theaters, check out the new Century Arden 14 and XD Theater for movie watching in style!

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